Report Examines “Hotspots” Across The Internet In Top Level Domains, Registration Patterns, And Hosting Locations

By   ISBuzz Team
Writer , Information Security Buzz | May 24, 2017 11:08 am PST

DomainTools research finds new generic top level domains (gTLDs) are hotspots for malicious activity

London, UK – DomainTools, the leader in domain name and DNS-based cyber threat intelligence, today released their 2017 DomainTools Report, looking at the various “hotspots” of malicious or abusive activity across the internet. The report examines four domain characteristics: generic Top Level Domains, Whois privacy provider, free email provider and IP geolocation.

The DomainTools research team analysed the generic top level domains (gTLDs) with the highest concentrations of malicious activity. Their research found that .science had the highest concentration of bad domains, followed by .study and .racing. None of the 2017 most malicious Top Level Domains were in meaningful operation in 2015.

Tim Helming, Director of Product Management at DomainTools said: “We expect a lot of churn for the foreseeable future as the Top Level Domain space continues to expand, but that should not stop investigators from paying attention to the top ten from this year.” Helming clarified that these TLDs are not inherently malicious, as single registrants can be responsible for the vast majority of nefarious domains. “It is worth noting that in .science, of the 230,000 domains in the TLD, over 144,000 (63%) have been blacklisted and even more noteworthy, perhaps, is that the blacklisted domains in .science are dominated by a single registrant. Similarly, the blacklisted domains in the .racing TLD are also largely the work of a single registrant entity.”

The DomainTools team was also able to identify which email providers, based on registrant contact information contained in Whois records, had the highest concentrations of malicious domains and was at the top of the list. This list also included Microsoft mail providers and “ went from being completely absent in 2015 all the way to the dubious distinction of top slot this year, and showed a significant increase in the rates of unsavory domains linked to it” continued Helming. “While it bears repeating that the use of any of these providers is not proof that a domain is dangerous, many of the actual concentrations are extremely high. Only one of the top ten had a lower than 10% incidence of observed bad activity among the domains connected to it.”

The full research is available on the Domain Tools blog:

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